As I prepared for bed last night I began to wonder- how many other women are in a similar situation? It was Friday night and there I was alone turning down my bed at around 9:30. Normally I wouldn’t be going to bed so early on a Friday night (because I would be watching Dateline or 20/20, duh), but I had to get up early to participate in the graduation ceremony at the college where I teach. So earlier it was.
When I looked in the mirror as I was brushing my teeth, I once-overed myself and although I am no Hollywood Starlett, I like what I see. I would say that I’m moderately attractive. I’m no waif for sure, but at least when I go out with friends I know how to have a good time and how to enjoy good food (and conversation, or course). I believe I present myself well. I try to dress nicely and appropriately for situations and I do my beset to keep my hair well kept (I have a crazy mane that gets a little outta hand sometimes). Weren’t we taught as young girls that all of these things matter? I have a lot of friendships that I have continued to maintain and reacquaint myself with throughout my life- some dating all the way back to my toddler years. But despite all of these things that people tell me are so great, I sit home alone.
I know, I know there are many people sitting home alone at night, especially since these days we’re all broke. My wonder lies not with how many women (sorry dudes) are home alone, but more so with how many women are home wondering “why.” Well I know why I was on this particular night. My boyfriend broke up with me a few months back and that put a real damper on my social life since I was spending so much time with him. I’m adjusting back to my life and things are going well. Oh yeah, and I had to get up early the next day for work. Sometimes I wonder if that is part of the larger problem. The career, the ambition, the drive…are these positive attributes that women are pursuing more as society advances impeding on our mating?
In a few hours when I participate in the graduation ceremony I will be celebrating and honoring those who have set academic goals for themselves to better their lives. During the ceremony I will wear my appropriate dress of my cap, gown, and hood. Now I wouldn’t call this the best of my outfits, but when I tried it on the other day I felt pride like no other outfit (or accessory, even the Tiffany’s) makes me feel. It reminded me of the work that I have done to get where I am. It also reminded me of the great opportunity I have to encourage and applaud others who are working towards achieving their goals.
Last night while grading I came across a “Thank you” card from a young student that has been in a few of my classes. She is progressing in her education and will be starting at a university in the Fall. I opened the card and was overwhelmed by what it said. She said “Thank you so much for being an enthusiastic and creative teacher…you have opened me up to so many new things…(and) I look up to you and your worldviews.” I was awestruck. Never in my life up to this point did I think that I would be in a position where I would be able to influence and help people (especially young women) to advance themselves (and have so much fun doing it). I am such a lucky woman. I have to say that I got here by spending many Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights alone (most of the time working towards getting to this place).
It’s my guess that there are many others who are home alone on those nights as well are doing the same. When we ask “why” I’d like to believe it’s because we are a select group of people who are accomplishing our goals and moving towards our dreams. I’ve had time to spend in the other situation, having someone to spend those nights alongside. Although I now know that he wasn’t the right one, I’m glad that I have moved forward and liberated my time so that I can refocus it back onto myself. Because often when I was filling my time with the mindless things that he wanted to do I thought “why” am I wasting my time.